Trainer Profile: Tom Malone
Tom Malone has already carved out a remarkable career for himself as a bloodstock agent with 11 Cheltenham Festival winners including the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Native River amongst his purchases as well as Grand National hero, One For Arthur. But during the winter months when sales attendances are less demanding, Tom has proved that a side-line in training point to pointers to be equally rewarding. Having moved to an idyllic spot situated equidistance between the West Country courses of Cothelstone and Chipley Park, Tom has renovated a farm to provide an ideal training establishment although he stresses it is merely a hobby to tide him over during the winter months. “I enjoy the fun of pointing and it gives me a chance to meet up with friends when it’s quieter. It also is a way of selling a horse on further down the line.” A good team of staff means any inevitable absence due to Bloodstock obligations means the yard continues to run smoothly.
Last term stable star The Last But One capped a stellar season by winning the PPORA Young Horse Award after recording 6 victories. He has returned for a further spell pointing but found Thomas Campbell a hard nut to crack when being outstayed on seasonal debut at Wadebridge in testing ground. He then contested a hot Cottenham Novice Riders event where he did well to finish 4th after becoming detached and trailing the field some 40 lengths following a mistake at the fifth. He should return to winning ways soon.
Formerly a high class chaser when with Paul Nicholls, Art Mauresque had seemingly lost his way slightly under Rules and so has been sent to Tom for a rejuvenating session. If last weekend’s result at Cottenham is anything to go by then it looks to be working after he coasted clear in the Men’s Open under Will Biddick. Still in the ownership of Mrs Johnny de la Hey, a tilt at the Foxhunters at Aintree is a planned target.
Another former Nicholls inmate sent to Tom is the Kathy Stuart owned Qualando. A winner of the Fred Winter Hurdle at Cheltenham in his youth, he too could benefit from a change of scenery and will be targeted at Opens in the Spring.
The maiden mare Mrs Davies has had two runs for the yard since being purchased at the Cheltenham December sale following a promising run in Ireland. This daughter of Court Cave is closely related to the useful I’m A Game Changer who is now in the care of Gordon Elliot. She looks certain to open her account and could take some beating in a mares only maiden.
Song of the Hunter is a 5yo Network gelding who was also purchased from Ireland where he had two placings from 4 runs. He should find a maiden well within his capabilities and will probably be ready to run in early January.
With Let’s Get At It on the easy list for the remainder of the season, the team is completed by a 4yo gelding by Yeats. This well-bred youngster who’s dam is a half-sister to classy hurdler, Royal Shakespeare, may run in point to point bumpers in the Spring.
With another potentially successful season to look forward to, Tom doesn’t share the gloomy predictions for pointing that have been prevalent over the last few seasons and highlights the phenomenal entries seen so far as hugely positive. He commented “There are plenty of horses about and for those that are badly handicapped under Rules, it can give owners a bit more fun” whilst at the same time stating that the prize money wasn’t an issue, but more the thrill of having a winner. Factoring in a forward thinking PPA, he feels that Point to Pointing is healthier than feared and is starting to move in the right direction.